Fallbrook High School lockdown
Students and faculty gather outside Fallbrook High School during a lockdown in 2017. Courtesy OnScene.TV

By Marie Waldron

School safety has to be our first priority. That’s why I introduced Assembly Bill 1983 requiring local school districts to collaborate with local law enforcement to create mandatory threat assessment protocols and facility reassessments so that all schools will have documented protections, advanced technologies and strategies in place should a threat arise.

Unfortunately, a large majority of schools remain unprepared to deal with external or internal threats. While both law enforcement and school personnel are highly trained professionals who always prioritize student welfare and school safety, they are not required to work together to create and implement security protocols and threat assessments geared to each school’s unique circumstances and campus layouts.

This lack of collaboration between schools and law enforcement may lead to confusion and chaos during a crisis.

Marie Waldron

Under my bill, facility assessments would include campus fencing, walls, parking lots, lighting, security cameras, building layouts, visibility or blind spots, weapons detection, smar’ student identification, communication protocols between school/public/law enforcement, and the potential effectiveness of all emergency plans. These assessments should lead schools to take advantage of reasonably priced new technologies aimed at securing school perimeters and allowing safe ingress/egress on all campuses.

As we all know, threats can come in many forms and can occur anywhere at any time. Each type of threat needs to be assessed with the help of local law enforcement, providing school administrators with the information they will need to respond effectively during a crisis.

By passing AB 1983 and by requiring these practical, concrete steps, security at all California schools will be strengthened, and most importantly, the safety of our children will be ensured.

Marie Waldron, a Republican representing the 75th Assembly District in North San Diego County, is the Minority Floor Leader.